Vitae News: July 2023

Vitae News: July 2023
Anna 3MT Host


Welcome to July’s Vitae News, with a special Vitae Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) focus. We also bring you the latest exciting developments around other Vitae events and policy updates.


Vitae Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)

We are excited to announce that our host for the Vitae Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) 

competition 2023, sponsored by Taylor & Francis, will be award-winning materials scientist, author, presenter, comedian and storyteller, Dr Anna Ploszajski.

The Vitae Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition challenges doctoral researchers to present their research to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes. Participants condense their complex research into concise and engaging presentations, which are then judged by an independent panel. The semi-finals will be held at the end of this week, when the 12 highest scoring entries from the quarter finals will be reviewed to decide the final six. Finalists will be announced in early August.  

The final of the competition will be broadcast on Friday 15 September 2023.

The Vitae 3MT® Register To Vote platform will be launched soon and will enable you to watch the broadcast and cast your vote for the People’s Choice Winner on the day. Last year we had viewers from all around the world, and we hope that doctoral candidates will be inspired to take part in next year’s competition.  

Further inspiration can be taken from the fourth video of our Vitae 3MT® series, in which last year’s finalists explain the varied skills and learning they have gained from taking part in the competition. 



#VitaeCon2023 – programme updates

The preliminary programme has now been launched for our annual flagship event, which brings together all those with a stake in the development of researchers. This year we present a blend of policy and practice, with plenary sessions stemming from the main #VitaeCon2023 themes, including ‘What needs to change in the research policy landscape?’; ‘Achieving equity in the research environment’; and ‘Voice of the researcher’. 

We’re delighted to announce the following three panel speakers, bringing their diverse perspectives and insightful reflections to the conference plenaries:  

  • Jo Foster, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Royal Society and Co-founder of Foster Diversity 
  • Dr Paul Redmond, Director of Student Experience and Enhancement, University of Liverpool  
  • Dr Nitin Shukla, Principal Scientist & Head of Intellectual Property Group, National Chemical Laboratory, India 

We can also announce the #VitaeCon2023 community workshops. Created by the global researcher development community, the workshops relate to one or more of the #VitaeCon2023 themes and help progress conversations on researcher development and the wider research culture agenda through the sharing of policy and practice. 

Online, in-person and combined format tickets are currently available, as well as Three-for-two tickets only for Vitae members. 

Vitae Impact, Culture and Engagement (ICE) Awards

The inaugural Vitae Impact, Culture and Engagement (ICE) Awards aim to celebrate and amplify the impactful and innovative work being done by the researcher development community. They will recognise the impressive contribution of this community to the shared endeavour of helping researchers realise their potential.  

Having reviewed over 50 fantastic nominations for the Vitae ICE Awards, the independent Shortlisting Panel have now shortlisted their top 3 in each category, including Newcomer of the Year, Outstanding Contribution, Research Culture Impact through Researcher Development, and Innovative and Inclusive Practice.  

The longlist and the shortlist for the four awards will be announced shortly, with the winner for each category being announced during the Vitae conference Gala dinner on Monday 25 September, at the Science and Industry Museum Manchester. 



National Postdoc Conference (NPDC) 2023

Vitae and UK Research Staff Association (UKRSA) are proud to be supporting the biennial National Postdoc Conference (NPDC) hosted by C-DICE and Loughborough University. Part of Postdoc Appreciation Week, the theme for NPDC 2023 is “Transitions and New Horizons”. The event will provide a platform to celebrate the impact and contribution of postdoctoral researchers and this year will feature the National Postdoc Conference (NDPC) Awards, sponsored by Heuristic Games.  

If you are a postdoctoral researcher, or someone who supports them, join the pre-conference networking evening on 18 September (with street food buffet) and on 19 September for the varied programme of talks, workshops, networking and a celebration of postdocs! 

Vitae Learning and Development services

Supporting your researcher development provision 

Plan your researcher development provision with Vitae's Learning and Development Team. We offer in-person and online workshops for doctoral researchers, research staff, supervisors, and other support staff, as well as coaching, mentoring and enhanced evaluation activities.

Explore our 'Vitae Train the Trainer' packages to upskill staff and build capacity for delivering development within your institution. Discover more at the Vitae conference.


Policy updates


REF 2028 and recognition for research enablers  

Following publication of the REF 2028 initial decisions last month, a Vitae member article offers reflection on one of the most significant parts of the reform  - the broadening of eligibility to include recognition of all those who contribute to the research endeavour.  


UK Committee on Research Integrity (UKCORI) - annual statement 

The UK Committee on Research Integrity (UKCORI)’s 2023 annual statement was published earlier this month and provides a thoughtful account of integrity-related activities, indicators, and perceptions in the UK.

Also included in the supplementary materials is analysis of CEDARS questions relevant to research integrity by career stage and by broad disciplinary groupings, which UKCORI commissioned from Vitae. 


Universities producing own guidance around AI 

In the absence of sector guidance on the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in research, universities are developing their own interim guidance to encourage researchers to use this technology in a responsible and critical manner.  

Take a look at the following examples: 

EDI Caucus newsletter 

The EDI Caucus that is supporting UK Research & Innovation with evidence-based reviews of equality, diversity & inclusion practices have published their first newsletter.



How academia is exploring new approaches for evaluating researchers  

A recent Science article provides a useful overview of important developments in research assessment reform, summarising views held by many researchers that it is vital to monitor and adapt new approaches to research assessment to avoid any potential unintended consequences.

Evaluation of proposals for European Research Council (ERC) grants 

An article has been written about the changes in the evaluation of proposals for ERC grants. The changes will help evaluation panels decide which research proposals to fund taking a more holistic approach of research contributions into account. 



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